Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Prop. 47 and Realignment Are Epic Failures

HOT OFF THE PRESSES

A friend shared the following recent essay from the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs blog.  It will come as no surprise to those of us in Costa Mesa, where crime was up 33% through the end of 2015, HERE.  The January, 2016 numbers are better, HERE, but Burglaries and Stolen Vehicles are still off the charts. Realignment and Prop. 47 are epic failures and we, the public, are the ones who will suffer for that failure.

CONTRIBUTING FACTORS IN COSTA MESA
In Costa Mesa the issue is exacerbated (not "exasperated", Steve) by the proliferation of sober living facilities in our city.  It is estimated at more than 28% of all Orange County sober living homes are in Costa Mesa.  Those "clients" who run out of insurance money or cash, or otherwise fail to complete their course of rehabilitation, are summarily dumped out onto our streets, where their options are grim.  In many cases it means homelessness and/or a life of crime to feed whatever their habit is.

STILL UNDERSTAFFED
The Costa Mesa Police Department remains significantly understaffed - as I write this there are 25 open positions - even though the Human Resourcs staff and the CMPD are pushing forward with recruitment efforts with all prudent haste.  We've been able to hire many of the best of the best from academy classes.

TOXIC ENVIRONMENT
Over the past four years we've lost nearly half the staff due to retirements - early and regular - and departures to other jurisdictions due to the toxic environment created by the elected leadership majority.  You cannot expect the same level of performance by the new officers filling those holes in the organization that you got from those old hands who left.  Police work takes experience to develop proficiency.  And, because of the tension caused by the bogus lawsuit filed against the men and women of the CMPD by the Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem - combined with an unwillingness of the city to negotiate a new labor contract - it was nearly impossible to attract lateral transfers from other jurisdictions.  We're told there is a new labor contract pending - after nearly two years without one - and the lawsuit continues to linger.

OPPORTUNITIES LOST
Specialty units were decimated and positions in them were not filled, creating a disincentive to officers hoping to make a career with the CMPD.  Many of the forward-thinking steps taken by previous chiefs - Roger Neth, Dave Snowden, and Tom Gazsi - have been chopped.  Steve Staveley tried to hold things together as Interim Chief (twice)The current city administration was non-responsive to the needs for a couple years.  In the spring of 2014 CEO Tom Hatch received from then-chief Gazsi his plan for the resurrection of the Costa Mesa Police Department.  That plan was never acknowledged, much less acted upon.  The elected leadership refused to permit Gazsi and his team recruit to fill existing and anticipated vacancies for more than eight (8) months!  That put them far behind the recruitment curve, where they remain today.

READ THE ESSAY
So, this essay below is just one more exclamation point on the issues facing law enforcement throughout the state, and Costa Mesa particularly.  You won't enjoy it, but you should read it.  Some sycophants of the current elected "leaders" in town will say, "Well, look who wrote it!  Those darn union thugs!", or words to that effect.  Well, ignore the authors if you must, even though they are the men and women who have to deal with these failed ideas every day, but read the facts.
FBI Statistics Show
 "The Experiment" Has Failed

By ALADS Board of Directors
When Realignment was introduced, it was described as one of the "great experiments in American incarceration policy."   Unfortunately, the guinea pigs in this experiment were not the inmates released from the state prisons, but the residents of California who lives and property were purposely put at risk.  That change was followed in short order by Proposition 47, which not only led to the release of prison inmates but reduced former felony drug and theft crimes to misdemeanors.  While law enforcement warned crime rates would increase if Proposition 47 passed, voters fell for an initiative duplicitously labeled "The Safe Neighborhood and Schools Act."

After the passage of Proposition 47, our deputies and law enforcement across the state saw an increase in crime.  Law enforcement leaders who attempted to inform the public of increase in crime due to Proposition 47 were shouted down.  For example, when Sheriff Jim McDonnell was interviewed by the LA Times in a series of videos entitled "Thanks to Prop. 47, Californians are less safe than they were a year ago," some people claimed the Sheriff was "spreading disinformation" and such claims were "rhetoric" that was not supported by "data."

Well, now we have the "data" the some claimed was missing-and it proves the point Sheriff McDonnell had been making.  As detailed in a release from the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank, FBI statistics released last month documenting nationwide reported crime rates for cities with populations over 100,000 for January-June, 2015 showed California suffered a drastic increase in crime rates in both the violent and property categories.

In the violent crime category, California had 3 cities in the top 5, and 5 of the top 10, for increases in violent crime rates. The grim news didn't stop with the "top 10." 49 of 66 California cities in the report had increases in violent crime rates; 34 of those cities saw the violent crime rate increase by double digits.

It was even worse in the property crime category.  California took the first 3 spots for increases in property crime rates, and 5 of the first 10.  48 of the 66 California cities saw an increase in their property crime rates, with 24 seeing the rate rise by double digits.  In a blog by the Public Policy Institute of California, the authors noted the property crime rate increase was "widespread and not trivial in magnitude." Of particular note, wrote the PPIC, was that that large cities in the next four largest states (Florida, Texas, New York and Illinois) saw decreases in property crime.

Another misleading claim about Proposition 47 and Realignment was that there would be a cost savings as a result of those laws.  In truth, the cost of crime was merely shifted from the state to crime victims and local jurisdictions.  Thus, while a report proudly touted a savings to the State of California of $128 million, it did not set a dollar amount due to this burden shifting-which is enormous.  For example, in Los Angeles County, (we examined cities in LA County that were in the FBI report) and calculated the "cost of crime" using widely accepted Rand Corporation cost method first introduced by New York City Police Commissioner and former LAPD Chief William Bratton. The result- a cost of crime of over $249 million for just six months of 2015 (and only including cities with a population in excess of 100,000.)

The sobering numbers above vividly prove that we cannot afford, both in the fiscal and public safety sense, yet another "experiment" with public safety.  We will continue to educate the public on the true cost of the crime experiments now underway, as an educated public is the surest way to defeat new proposals that would cut the amount of time felons serve in prison

The Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs (ALADS) is the collective bargaining agent and represents more than 8,200 deputy sheriffs and district attorney investigators working in Los Angeles County. To contact the directors, click here.

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6 Comments:

Anonymous breaking bad said...

Just read another total misrepresentation of the facts by our Mayor. For those who haven't seen it, it's title "Enough is Enough". To summarize it basically says we are in the financial situation we are in because "Our problem has been electing leaders who clearly don't understand the art of saying, "no". The Mayor is talking about pension costs and the unfunded liability to which they often misrepresent the facts. Indeed the pensions became and are a problem. But not how and why the current council claims.

You probably have heard them before saying things like, bought and paid for council, union backed councils, liberal councils and some other ways they phrase it. You get the idea, liberal bought and paid for councils just green-lighted the pension bumps as payback for the unions support.

But if you look at the FACTS, the votes, who voted for the bumps, why they did and other issues, in Costa Mesa you'll see this is not the truth at all. Not only is it not the truth but there is another sad issue about this that will become evident as we proceed with this.

Let's start with the Police Department and their bump in 2000 to 3% @ 50. The economy had just come through one of the best times it has ever seen. CalPers was actually super-funded. This means they had more money in their bank than they had promised in pensions. The City Council back in 2000 believing it wouldn't cost the City to give this enhancement passed the request. Gary Monahan incidentally was the Mayor back then. I wonder how hard it would be to find out how he voted?

For years the Police 3% @ 50 wasn't an issue until the economy hit one of the worst recessions starting around 2008.

Then in 2007 the General City Employees asked the City if the City would entertain a bump for General Employees to 2.5% @ 55 if the City Employees agreed to pay for whatever the costs were estimated to be. A CalPers actuary estimated the cost not once but 2 times and the final estimate came out to be a cost of 3.52% of the Employees salaries. The City also hired their own expert John Bartel to verify and check the costs and he gave it a pass. This can all be verified by the Pension Oversight Committee. Keep in mind I believe at the time Newport, Irvine and the County were paying their employees 2.7% @ 55 and Costa Mesa was paying 2% @ 55 well below what was being paid to other city and county employees. Many believed it was hard for us to be competitive in attracting the best as we paying such a lower retirement formula.

to be continued...

2/25/2016 12:12:00 AM  
Anonymous breaking bad said...

continued...
Now this is fascinating because of what the current 3 Council Members keep saying. They keep repeating that it was liberal bought and paid for past councils who did this. But the FACT is Liberal Mayor Eric Bever and his liberal sidekick (tongue in cheek) Allan Mansoor voted for that bump that happened in 2008. The issue also passed unanimously 5-0. Mayor Bever actually praised the city employee on camera for understanding the financial responsibility of this and paying for it. I believe that video is still available on the City's website. It was May 20, 2008.

Now let's go forward to 2010 when the Fire Department received their bump to 3% @ 50. Gary Monahan agonized over this vote and eventually cast the deciding vote to approve this bump. There were many reasons why he agonized over this. The Fire Department agreed to lower the minimun staffing requirements which was dearly sought after, there was a cost savings estimate of around $600K per year in a time when the city was desperately looking for any cost saving measures. We also were in the middle of a continuing recession. Now I would hardly call Gary Monahan a liberal. But if you are going to blame people for the situation we are in it appears Gary Monahan voted on both of the highest paid city pensions at the rate of 3% @ 50. The fact is Gary Monahan could have stopped that by voting no. So is it honest to say liberals did this. I don't think so and the facts say it's not true. Nor was it on-the-take or corrupt past Councils as the Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem imply often.

By the way just to be clear when the Mayor Pro Tem says the General City Employees only paid 1% toward the 2008 General Employees bump that is also totally false. City Employees involved as spelled out in the staff report and can be verified by any request to payroll paid and have been paying 3.52% since it was approved. That is the 1% cost for the employee share and the 2.52% employer share. Your employees picked up those cost and those with the enhancement still working today still pay that 3.52%.

So the bottom line is the Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem are putting out false claims regarding several aspects of the pension situation and how we got here. It wasn't dishonest on the take past Councils that couldn't say no. It was competition with other agencies, a good economy creating a superfunded retirement fund, a terrible economy that wiped out a great deal of that and yes formulas that went too high.

To try and use this to smear and demean others should tell people a great deal about the current council majority. Especially when one of them it looks like could have easily stopped it. However I don't fault Gary Monahan because everyone, employees, staff, actuaries and past council took the information they had at the time and made what they thought were favorable decisions for the city in general. There was no underhandedness about this. That is just a redherring to create hate and anger toward others and gain support for themselves.

2/25/2016 12:13:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Unfortunately, that commentary mentioned in the first comment - by Steve Mensinger - is 5 years old and was published right after Mensinger took office.

2/25/2016 12:27:00 AM  
Blogger mesa verde madman said...

Has there ever been an actual 'liberal' on our city council? I don't recall any, but they do make for a great villain.

2/25/2016 06:17:00 AM  
Anonymous breaking bad said...

Geoff, thank you for pointing that out. While it was originally written as you said 5 years ago it was resurected yesterday and is being discussed on a couple of other webpages. Comments are being made that its important to know how we got here. So maybe originally 5 years old but they continue very often to this day to use the same mantra that it's past liberal councils paid for by unions who caused this. The false claim is still claimed today from the dais and on other webpages. So nothing has changed. Not their mantra nor the facts that it really wasn't all these evil people who caused this. Some have even gone so far recently to imply and outright accuse the former city manager of doing this underhandedly, deceptively and dishonestly and then retiring. It was false then and as it gets repeated over and over today it is still false. I repeat, in Costa Mesa, it was a perfect storm that caused the financial pension situation and the costs we are in today are not the result of dishonest paid for liberal union councils nor a deceitful past city manager.

2/25/2016 07:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Arthur Nern said...

Why does "Mensheimer" hate Costa Mesa so much?

2/25/2016 11:42:00 AM  

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